10:30—12:00 PM
Center for Global Development
2055 L St NW, Fifth Floor
Washington, DC 20036

Is Latin America Ready for the Return of Normal?

Featuring the members of the Latin-American Shadow Financial Regulatory Committee (CLAAF):
Guillermo Calvo, Professor, Columbia University; former Chief Economist, Inter-American Development Bank
Pedro Carvalho de Mello, Professor, Universidade de Sao Paulo; former Commissioner, Comissao de Valores Mobiliarios, Brazil
Roque Fernandez, Professor, Universidad del CEMA; former Minister of Finance, Argentina
Carmen Reinhart, Professor, Harvard University
Liliana Rojas-Suarez, President, CLAAF; Senior Fellow and Director, Latin America Initiative, Center for Global Development

Latin America has benefited in recent years from an unprecedented and prolonged episode of extremely low interest rates in the US and other high-income economies. Most Wall Street analysts and multilateral bank economists agree that, led by the US, this episode is coming to an end with return of what was once regarded as a normal global macro environment: higher interest rates in advanced economies and lower commodity prices.

How will Latin America weather the return to normal? There is no consensus. Some experts argue that improvement in macroeconomic policies (especially greater exchange rate flexibility) will pay dividends and the region will continue on a solid, albeit lower and sometimes bumpy path of economic growth. Others warn that the return of normal will expose hidden fragilities that in some countries could result in serious economic instability.

CLAAF members will present their views on this debate and will answer the following questions, among others:

  • How should Latin America’s performance be assessed? Are the typical indicators of fiscal and monetary strength adequate or are we missing an important part of the story?
  • Can local-currency denominated financial instruments developed in the region during the period of prolonged low international interest rates be sustainable with the return of normal conditions?
  • How will a less favorable international economic climate and political pressures to sustain high growth rates (in a heavy electoral period in the region) interact to determine outcomes?

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